#SFTop25 finalist 2017 - Sherry Wong

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Age: 20
Hometown: Cambridge, Ontario

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One of our Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 for a few years now, Sherry has placed again for her continued efforts efforts to expand her upcycling and meatless monday sustainability initiatives.

When Sherry was growing up, Sunday was an important bonding day for her family, but also a day for appreciating nature. Sherry’s family would spend time together in parks -- fishing, hiking, flying kites, and bird watching. She still carries memories of the sunsets at the end of those beautiful days. On one occasion, her sister wanted to pick a flower, and their mother took the opportunity to explain the importance of taking care of the environment, including not removing anything from nature or leaving anything behind, since even small disturbances could interfere with natural processes.

As early as elementary school, Sherry felt the urge to do something about old toys, electronics, and furniture being tossed out onto the curb and ending up in junk yards. It was in eighth grade that she was first introduced to the idea of upcycling. Using water bottle caps, Sherry reconstructed a broken table lamp into an eco friendly lamp, and ended up winning first place for it in a school competition. She was fascinated by the idea of giving old items new purpose because it does not require knowledge of environmental science or a green thumb; just old junk and creativity!

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 Sherry demonstrated this to her peers by making her own dresses for semi-formal school events, and soon she was initiating upcycling exhibitions at 47 schools all over Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo region. “Ever since, the exhibition has been progressively growing and I have been able to reach out to more students.” She first joined her school’s environmental club at the suggestion of a friend. Not knowing what to expect, she soon grew motivated to help the club flourish. Sherry initiated a school-wide competition to see which class could keep a plant the healthiest and became a Youth Editorial Board Writer for The Record newspaper. Recently she “decided to expand her upcycling exhibitions beyond the Kitchener-Waterloo region. The 5th annual exhibition will be held in the Peel Region this year and it is no longer limited to student submissions. Instead, it is now open community-wide.” Next Sherry plans to bring her upcycling initiative to Toronto.

Sherry is now a York University student. The Meatless Monday club that she founded on her campus in 2015 is now partnering with the #1 vegetarian restaurant in Toronto for club events. She does an excellent job explaining the importance of the club and her on the ground involvement in it:

 “A reduction in meat consumption, even once a week, can make a significant difference as it could help reduce our carbon footprint and save natural resources, such as fossil fuels and fresh water. Through our monthly events, we hand out free meatless foods to students to show them that a meatless diet is not as dull as what many may think. We also share our own personal tips and hand out recipe cards to further aid students in making this transition.”

She has also been talking to students at other Ontario Universities to get the Meatless Monday movement going on those campuses.

Sherry would like to thank all the community members that have taken part in her initiatives. She would also like to thank her mother who introduced her to eco friendly values at home, such as taking reusable containers to the restaurant for take out.